Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cricket Music

One swallow does not a summer make, said Aristotle, dispensing wisdom again, as he had an annoying habit of doing. But that's no consolation when it's August 31 and you feel like you barely had a swallow of summer. On the other hand, maybe it was a really memorable swallow—a cold beer when you really needed it; or an ice-tinkling raspberry lime rickey on a shady verandah. Or if perchance Ari was talking about the kind of swallow that dips and cuts over a summery meadow, harvesting gnats, well, it only takes one, if it's the right sort of swallow. A glossy blue and tawny barn swallow with a natty forked tail, perhaps. Or a dapper green and white tree swallow chittering on a nest box. I submit that a good swallow can make a summer, especially on the eve of September, when the days dwindle down to a precious few and all you have are...gulp...memories.

Or is it the summer that makes a swallow, whether it's a gulp or a gulf, a flick or a flock? These are impertinent observations, cricket music, summer's stock in trade. Reminds me of the time I observed to my 9th grade Biology teacher, "I read in Ripley's Believe It or Not that the word 'butterfly' was originally 'flutter-by'." Silence. Then as it became clear that Miss Rawls was not amused, Giant Laughter erupted from my traitorous classmates.

 But that was fifty years ago and I'm not bitter. 
Anyway, this summer's big gulp really pertains to my son, Matt, who's in college suddenly, and who we left in Montreal on Monday last, in a former nunnery called Gray Nuns Residence, on a co-ed floor, with a week of bonding activities like a trip to a drag-queen show, a shopping trip to Ikea, and a trip to La Ronde, the big amusement park. College? Sounds like cricket music to me. But next week they'll probably be ready to get down to work and it will snap back into being Concordia University, Fine Arts Faculty, Film Production Dept, five classes a week, including French on Saturday. Still, he'll come back each night to the consolation of the co-ed convent.

My sister asked what it was like now, at home. I could have said, "One swallow sometimes a summer takes." But I wrote:

Weird. Normal. Slightly odd. Damned peculiar. A relief--so much more time, no interruptions to look at e-Bay purchases! And very old fogeyish, but then it always was. But now more so. No music, no juggling, no frozen waffles--in fact, half the groceries in half the time.

He's so far away. Not really, and he'll be back in early December, for 3 weeks. But he's somewhere else, he's in the wrong end of the binoculars. Sometimes it's like a book ended. What was that all about? Remember that kid…?

But the young tiger kinda melts into the woods and the old tiger lets him go. It's actually more of a physics problem than an emotional one. And I'm not even sure what I mean by that. Except that it comes down to: he's over there. We're over here. (It's okay. It makes sense. Get used to it. It's kollitch.)